Saturday, 28 September 2013

Texas Chicken – The sides that stole the show

G02, Empire Damansara, Jalan PJU 8/8, 47800, Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia


I like fried chicken.

For many years, I was a hardcore fan of KFC and would try every single new thing on the menu at least once. But I’ve stopped eating there for a long time now because I am violently opposed to the fact that they hire rempits who gleefullycontaminate the food and throw flying punches at customers.

I still like fried chicken, but because of this self-imposed abstinence from KFC, I am always on the lookout for good new fried chicken joints to try. So I was very happy when I found out that a new fried chicken franchise has opened in Malaysia.

Could this be my new go-to place for fried chicken?

It’s located just 5 minutes’ drive from where I stay, at the shiny new Empire Damansara. I’ve been there 3 times in the space of a week, and have tried almost everything on the menu. Here’s my take on Texas Chicken, with comparisons (where applicable) against the long-established fried chicken king: KFC.

Original chicken.

We start, of course, with the main event: the fried chicken. My first thought upon looking at it is: Well I’ll be a double-dog-darned tumbleweed… they weren’t kiddin’ when they said everything’s big in Texas. (apologies for my inept Texan)

Compared with the pathetic, shrunken chicken from KFC, the pieces of fried chicken at Texas are massive. And they don’t cheat by adding huge amounts of batter like KFC does with Hot & Spicy. It’s all meat with a very thin coating of batter. Even the wings have a substantial amount of meat on them, and don’t disappear in two bites.

Spicy chicken.

They got the meat to be tender and juicy – even the breasts – something which KFC seemed to have forgotten how to do in recent years.

Flavour-wise, though, the chicken at Texas is very mild. Their original chicken doesn’t have a distinctive flavour like KFC OR, and even their spicy chicken (though they say it has been seasoned with a potent blend of 5 different spices) seems to lack much punch in the flavour department. I really hope they will adjust their recipes to suit Malaysian preferences for stronger flavours… and soon. In the mean time, there’s always chilli sauce… :)

Okay, so the chicken is good but not great. But all is not lost: as the headline says, the sides are awesome. Before we get to them, though, I thought I should do a quick run-down of all the things I ate there which were – like the chicken – good but not great. Would be a shame to have gained all those calories and not write about the food, no?

Chicken Tenders. Thick, meaty strips of tender, juicy breast meat. Like the fried chicken, not very flavourful, but the creamy jalapeno sauce has a nice tangy taste that boosted the flavour quotient considerably. The darker one is the spicy version.

Nuggets. Don’t like this one. Taste and texture remind me too much of chicken meatballs. Barbecue sauce is nice and thick, but a little too sweet for my taste.

Regular wrap – chicken tender with some green veggies and nice sour cream. Could do with a little extra sauce.

Tex wrap – regular wrap with tomatoes and shredded cheese added. Again, some extra sauce would be good.

Classic burger. Sort of like the McChicken (which I’m not fond of) or a Colonel Burger (which I absolutely loathe). But at least in this one, the patty has a nice crunchy crust.

Mexicana burger (which technically should be called a sandwich). Quite big, with a thick piece of boneless chicken. Like the wrap, could use a little more sauce. I would say the KFC Zinger is just slightly better than this.

All right, we’ve gotten all that out of the way… let’s finish strong with three fantastic sides.

French fries.

These are perfect: crunchy outside, light and fluffy inside. They are so well-seasoned that it actually felt wrong to dip them in chilli sauce or ketchup. Hands-down better than KFC Fun Fries; better even than McDonald’s fries; they’re every bit as good as the top-notch fries at Carl’s Jr.

Mashed potato.

The last time I had whipped potato at KFC, it was atrociously bad, with the texture of congealed wallpaper paste and a tasteless sauce. It was such a pleasure to taste the soft, light and creamy mashed potato at Texas chicken with its tasty brown sauce. The coleslaw next to it is not bad either.

Honey butter biscuits.

In my opinion, this is the best item on the menu. It has a nice crunchy crust on top that’s sticky with a honey glaze. The middle is so soft that it starts falling apart as soon as you pick it up. The texture is smooth and light and almost creamy, and there is a delicious buttery flavour that’s sweet and slightly savoury. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give the KFC bun a 1, the Popeye’s biscuit a 5 and the Texas honey butter biscuits a 10.

Final verdict: the lack of flavour in the fried chicken is a pretty big issue for a fried chicken joint, but it’s worth a try just for the biscuits alone. And one more thing…

Go now while it’s still good!

I remember when Wendy’s first returned to Malaysia. I went to the branch at Sunway Pyramid and tried the ridiculously massive burger. The patties were juicy and tasty and overflowed the bun so much that I had to take 3 massive bites of all-meat before I reached the bread. Now, the patties are a lot smaller and fit neatly inside the bun and are a lot drier.

Currently, the staff at Texas are enthusiastic and polite and the food is prepared well. I of course hope this doesn’t change. But just in case it does, I’ll be eating at Texas quite frequently.

Snack-sized review
Good-sized and beautifully cooked fried chicken which unfortunately is a bit lacking in flavour.  The sides are awesome, though; it’s worth trying out just for the honey butter biscuits alone.

Stats
Hours: 10 to 10

Price: About RM10 per person.

5 comments:

  1. I'm not a real foodie fan but really enjoy reading this write-up... esp your catchy phrase: 'The sides that stole the show'. Great line there! Have it patented!

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  2. Woah your post makes me hungry already! Been craving for KFC and now you just made me change my mind! Can't wait to try it out!

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    Replies
    1. Go try out and let us know what you think :) Anyway, we just went back for the biscuit and this time it was not as soft as the first time we had it. Maybe not that fresh. Hope they can maintain the quality lah :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Chandra, thanks for your feedback. Keep reading! :)

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